The controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed a closed-door vote by the House Intelligence Committee by a wide margin and will now head to the House floor for a vote. Privacy advocates have decried the cybersecurity legislation -- a barely modified version of the bill that failed in the Senate last year -- which would give businesses and the federal government legal protection to share online data.
The Hill reported that a number of amendments supported by the bill's sponsors were approved during markup, including a change that would require the government to remove personal information from "cyber threat" data they receive from private companies; and another change that would allow the government to use data from private companies for broad "national security purposes." The final text of the bill heading to the House floor has not been made public. Meanwhile the White House has yet to respond to a "We the People" petition against CISPA, which has garnered over 100,000 online signatures (the number required to demand a response from the administration.) The EFF and the ACLU are, as noted here, working in conjunction to rally further opposition to the bill.
TechDirt reported Wednesday that the bill's sponsors are taking pains to :hide the fact that the bill has very broad definitions that will make it much easier for the NSA to get access to private data." TechDirt highlights how CISPA sponsor Rep. Mike Rogers, R-MI., has created a strawman of CISPA's critics, claiming that fears that the legislation is a surveillance bill are unfounded. As TechDirt noted:
Rogers' problem is that he's pretending that privacy critics are saying this is an ongoing "surveillance" bill, rather than one where the NSA can get access to private data. As far as I know, none of the privacy groups protesting CISPA have made that claim of it being a surveillance bill. They're just worried about how CISPA destroys (literally, wipes out) any privacy protections for companies handing private info over to the government. Basically, the end of his statement exactly confirms the concerns raised by privacy advocates, even as he pretends that it disproves them.